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Rule Number One – CheatThis is hardly a new concept in the annals of
gaming, but it absolutely bears emphasis as the first
rule of running the campaigns being discussed here.
Feel free to make sure your players know that you
will sometimes “cheat”; honestly, they should expect
it, and they should appreciate that it’s really the only
way you have a chance of giving them any kind of
That word – challenge – comes up a lot in this
context. It is not the place of the GM to win out
against the players; even in “Empire Strikes Back”
and “The Two Towers,” the Heroes were far from
utterly defeated, lest the stories just be over with a
lousy ending. Yet the Game Master is very much
expected to challenge the Heroes, or else the game
becomes little more than an exercise in flexing might
and cleverness for a few rounds, wondering what the
next campaign might be like.
Realize that from the very beginning, you’re being
ganged up on. Your players are each maximizing the
abilities of their Novice Rank Heroes against whatever
you throw at them, and doing so in conjunction
with their fellows. By the time they reach Heroic
and Legendary Rank, they know their characters
like snipers know their favorite rifles, and those
characters are pointed directly at everything you do
and are used with precision to devastating results.
However, you have the right and, frankly, the
responsibility to at least occasionally grab the
strands of Fate and twist reality to make things more
interesting and entertaining. In order to enjoy and
savor their victories, battles need to be hard won and
successes need to come at great effort and, sometimes,
Blatant, naked cheating, however, is going to
be held with a dim view. Your players are going to
expect you to go through at least some kind of ritual
or process to pull any stunts against them. At the very
least, you need to carefully conceal your cheats so that
everything happens behind-the-scenes, while out in
front of the camera, all seems to be going as it was.